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Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers
Schlesinger, Arthur Jr. (1917 - )
"As a historian, I confess to a certain amusement when I hear the Judeo-Christian tradition praised as the source of our present-day concern for human rights.... In fact, the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights ... not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation and oppression, but also for enthusiastic justifications for slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, and genocide. Religion during most of the history of the West saw the trials visited on mankind in this world as ordained by the Almighty to test and purify sinful mortals.... Moreover, religion enshrined hierarchy, authority, and inequality; hated blasphemy; and feared heresy.... It was the age of equality that brought about the disappearance of such religious appurtenances as the auto-da-fe and burning at the stake."

-- Arthur Schlesinger


Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr. is an American historian and social critic whose work has explored the liberalism of American political leaders including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy, as well as the men who surrounded Andrew Jackson. He served as Special Assistant to the President in John F. Kennedy's administration. He wrote a detailed account of the Kennedy Administration entitled "A Thousand Days."

He was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Arthur M. Schlesinger (1888-1965), who was an influential social historian at Ohio State and Harvard. His own son, Stephen Schlesinger is a social scientist well known for his work on the United Nations, and director of the World Policy Institute.

Schlesinger is a prolific contributor to liberal theory and is a passionate and articulate voice for Kennedy-style liberalism. He is admired for his wit, scholarship, and devotion to the liberal agenda before 1990. Since then he has been a critic of multiculturalism.

He coined the term "imperial presidency" during the Nixon administration.

Schlesinger's mother was a Bancroft and the family has long assumed (without hard evidence) that there is a blood connection to America's first great historian George Bancroft. (Schlesinger 2000, p 6-7) After using the middle initial "M" on a passport signature, he took it up.

Career

Education
1. 1933 The Collegiate School
2. 1938 Harvard University - Society of Fellows, 1939-1942; he never received a Ph.D.
3. War time service
4. 1942–1943 Office of War Information
5. 1943–1945 Office of Strategic Services

Educator
1. 1946-1961 professor of history at Harvard
2. Elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1961.
3. 1966 Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities at City University of New York Graduate Center - emeritus, 1994

Democratic Activist
1. Among the founders of Americans for Democratic Action
2. Wrote speeches for Adlai Stevenson's two Presidential campaigns in 1952 and 1956
3. Wrote speeches for John F. Kennedy's campaign in 1960
4. 1961-1964 Presidential special assistant for Latin American affairs and speech writer
5. Wrote speeches for Robert Kennedy's campaign in 1968
6. Since May 2005 he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

Writings
He won a Pulitzer Prize in history for his 1945 book The Age of Jackson.

His 1949 book The Vital Center made a case for the New Deal policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, while harshly critical of both unregulated capitalism and of those liberals who advocated cooperation or sympathy with communism.

His 1986 book The Cycles of American History was an early work on cycles in politics in the United States; it was influenced by his father's work on cycles.

He became a leading opponent of multiculturalism in the 1980s; The Disuniting of America (1991).

 
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